Wearing Your Faith

I began a couple of weeks ago sharing about some of the impressions we experienced from our recent visit to Israel. Those impressions were underscored today as news of the tragic synagogue shooting in southern California spread around the world. So so sad, and even more so as we remember all that these “Chosen People” have endured over the centuries. As Christians, we pray that God’s peace will be among them, and that through their grief, their hearts and minds might be turned to the Messiah they wait for even though He has already come.

Among the things we observed in Israel, one thing resonated especially in our hearts, and that is the traditions the Jewish people observe which make their faith “up close and personal”.

I’ve mentioned before that we stayed in the King David Hotel, the first time 35 years ago and then again on this trip. It was refreshing to see that the hotel has not changed in all that time. They still keep the old décor, doing only enough to keep it maintained without suggesting a “new look”.

Their policies haven’t changed either, insisting that, as an international hotel that has hosted kings and presidents from all over the world, they remain “Switzerland”; refusing to take political sides, no matter how strongly they may be felt. The hotel staff is a dramatic example, made up of Jews, Palestinians, Christians and Moslems, people who in normal circumstances might be considered mortal enemies, but inside the hotel walls they are meticulous fellow employees who seem to enjoy each other’s company.

In spite of their neutrality, however, the King David has not compromised its Jewish customs. If you happen to be there on the Sabbath, you’ll notice that the elevator moves automatically from floor to floor without passengers having to engage in the “work” of pressing a button. Coffee is still available from room service, but guests are reminded that it was made the day before and put into thermoses.

Another thing you’ll see both inside and outside the hotel are men wearing Teffilin or Phycateries tied onto their foreheads.  These are little black boxes with pieces of Scripture in them.  I wanted to take a picture, but frankly I was a little intimidated.

And the reason they do this comes from the Book of Exodus and then also in Deuteronomy. God tells the people,

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads” (Deuteronomy 6:6-8).

The other day, we went up to Brisbane to see our daughter and son-in-law’s new house that they’re building.  It makes us proud of their initiative and I suppose a little sad to know that they’ll join the ranks of other young ones with a lifetime of mortgage. But I guess that’s life, and I’m thrilled that they’re getting started on stability so young.

Anyway, to add to the excitement, our kids invited us, the parents and in-laws, to ‘Write these things on their hearts” and onto the bones of this new house.

Both Chris and Nicki were raised in Christian homes (one lovely and one crazy… take a guess), and they thought up the idea on their own. We were impressed, and honored to be a part.

It was a great day, walking through the newly-framed house, stopping in each room-to-be and writing appropriate verses of Scripture on the two-by-fours. I’m sure if you give it some thought, you can probably think of the verses we recorded, from the kitchen to the bedroom to the study and even the bathroom.

By now all those verses are hidden behind sheetrock and plaster never to come to light again until such time as the house is torn down. But we know they are there, and they serve as reminders that God’s truth is real and unchanging; whether you can see it or not.

Wasn’t God good to give us these admonitions to remember Him, to commit Him to each new endeavor, to teach our children and to THINK of Him as you ‘walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up”?

I think the kids were smart not to try to tie these blessings on their heads, but they will certainly remember them as they walk thru their new home.

What can you do today to make your faith real and tangible? You could tie a Bible on your head, or tattoo a Scripture onto your arm, but I think there may be other ways that are just as effective. Let me know, okay?

Love ya,

Marsha

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